Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, Michigan is an engaging & dynamic genealogy lecturer at local, regional and national conferences; an educator teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced genealogy classes in Michigan since 2001; the author of The Genealogist’s Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan (published in 2018 by The In-Depth Genealogist), and a professional researcher for private clients.
Her genealogy interests began when she was a Junior Girl Scout working towards a “My Heritage” badge, and her passion was fueled when, after college, both her mother’s and father’s relatives gave her binders containing generations’ worth of family information.
Her success in using Facebook to break down genealogical brick walls (both personally and in her classroom) inspired her to compile a list of 11,700+ Facebook genealogy links (updated November 2017). Additionally, she has created a compilation of 100+ instructional genealogical channels on YouTube.
Her passion for genealogy combined with practical and creative strategies keeps Katherine’s audience fully engaged and actively participating in her energetic and entertaining presentations. Participants leave with the tools necessary to do their own research, as well as the inspiration to do it!
Katherine’s genealogical society memberships/board positions include:
- Founder/President of the Virtual Genealogical Society (2018-Present)
- President of the Michigan Genealogical Council (2017-Present)
- Board of Directors, Association of Professional Genealogists (2018-Present)
- Secretary for the Genealogical Speakers Guild (2017-Present)
- Social Media Manager for GRIP/Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (2017-Present)
- Board of Directors, Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, MI (2017-2018)
- Vice-President of the Ford Genealogy Club (MI) (2016-2018)
- Corresponding Secretary for the Detroit (MI) Society for Genealogical Research (2016-2018)
- Member of the National Genealogical Society (2013-Present)
An Army Reserve wife of 20+ years, Katherine has supported military families since 2010 as a member of the Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) Cadre of Speakers. She travels regularly across the country to speak at YRRP events for military members (and their loved ones) within the three stages of deployment (pre-deployment, during deployment and post-deployment).
In addition to her love for genealogy and public speaking, she is a mixed-media artist and served for 10 years as a board member for the Ann Arbor Women Artists (President, 2009-2013; Vice-President & Chair of Juried Exhibits Committee, 2007-2009; Treasurer, 2003-2007). You can see some of her work in a Facebook photo album and on her Flickr page.